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Taking Your Child to the Supermarket

I've vowed many times to never, ever again take Alexei to the supermarket. Of course, there have been many times we've gone there, quickly done our shopping, and gotten away without major incident. But far too often for my sanity, our trips to the market have turned into miserable battles between Alexei wanting to get out of the cart or touch everything he can and me trying to get through a crowded checkout line, pretending I don't know this screaming terror.

The best option is to leave your child at home with a sitter or spouse. Consider doing your grocery shopping at night, when your spouse might be tucking your tot into bed with a story. The stores are also very quiet at night.

But for many of us, evenings are the last remnants of our day, and I always look forward to a couple of hours with my husband after Alexei's gone to bed. So if your schedule requires you to take your child to the supermarket, keep a few things in mind.

  • Don't take him when he's tired or hungry. There's no cure for cranky.
  • A supermarket is a very interesting place for babies and toddlers, full of sights, sounds, and smells to explore. Let him touch the items you are putting into the cart.
  • Be prepared to give him a treat or snack. Those bright boxes of cookies and aisles of potato chips would pique anyone's appetite. Either bring along a small snack or make a healthy store-bought treat something to look for. ("Is this is where the animal crackers live? No, it's the laundry detergent! Let's keep looking.")
  • Make a list before you go. This will cut down on the time spent in the store and the number of times you crisscross the floor to retrieve an item you suddenly realize you need.
  • Despite whatever you do in the store, sitting in a steel cart can be boring and confining. Have an activity, however brief, to look forward to after the store. Your perishable items, if they are bagged with frozen items, can keep in the car for a half hour or so while your toddler lets off some steam in a nearby park.

Reprinted from The Baby Bistro Cookbook: Healthy, Delicious Cuisine for Babies, Toddlers, and You by Joohee Muromcew. Copyright 2003 by Joohee Muromcew. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735 or visit their website at www.rodalestore.com.

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